Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Holiday Hangovers

Ahhh, I'm back not just in body but in spirit. Everyone needs a few days off and food bloggers are no exception. So, with the exception of a few pounds to lose, I'm back to giving you a full meal as often as possible of food tips, restaurant gossip, good -- and bad -- reviews and tips for eating and cooking. So, here's a question for all of you. What would you like to see added this year?

In light of many local publications, for example Nuvo and InTake, having policies that restrict reviewers from writing negative reviews, I've had many readers ask me lately about tackling problem restaurants. Many of you know I have no issues with offering a fair amount of snark when it's deserved. If a restaurant has underperformed, I have no problem calling them out. (For example, lately, it's been Deano's Vino in Fountain Square and their horrible service, limited wine selection, and overpriced food which has put me off completely.) I also have no problem calling out a restaurant that many are praising but I don't get (like the Conrad or Plum's Upper Room.) I trust my instincts enough to suspect when the Emperor -- or chef -- is really naked. But I hesitate to write bad reviews for the sake of slamming an establishment alone. We all know people in the food world including chefs, sommeliers, and servers. I have no desire to be negative just for the sake of it. One reader suggested a Three Warnings in addition to my (usually) weekly Three Latest and Best. I'm not sure I'll take it that far, but I will be more forthcoming -- when I feel it's deserved -- and take a place to task.

Remember that like everyone else I like to eat at places I enjoy, so sometimes I stick to tried and true favorites because I know they'll deliver. But I think we can try to point out small things a restaurant does well as well as issuing a general warning. Know that I usually hear the buzz on things well before I post it, and that I try to check with a few folks informally before I post something unfair. (Take, for example, the recent buzz among regulars at RBistro that they're getting fed up with the attitude. Not only did I note it in a recent email telling diners they'd be kicked out for the late seating on New Year's Eve, but more than one regular has noted the subtle shift in service to me and that they don't like it.)

No matter how we stike a balance, this year, look for me to continue calling reviewers out, keeping chefs on their toes, and reporting interesting gossip. And hoping that all of you will keep reading. Onward to 2007!


Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work in 07!

Anonymous said...

I also agree with you about Deano's.. quality is just not there and the prices are pure rip-off level. Beware of the cheesecake- it tasted worse than something you could make with a box mix.